Paulo Coelho

Stories & Reflections

Remember: every cloud has a silver lining

Author: Paulo Coelho

I remember when I was 17 years old, I was full of reflection on my identity. The world turns around how to realize myself. And the 20 years that followed, I gradually lost this reflection in the usual occupation. Study for a job, family, kids, money… It might sound strange, but I now find that this period of “grown-up” is the least interesting of my life. Today, at 37, I had the impression that I return to that point of departure 20 years ago. Starting to search again my personal legend. Do you relate to this?

Your Personal Legend “is what you have always wanted to accomplish. Everyone, when they are young, knows what their Personal Legend is.” (The AlchemistPaulo Coelho)

Grown-up, we might lose our ability to know our Personal Legend. On Christmas Eve this year, give a little time for it. How to find back our dreams, motivations, and the person we are destined to be? Here below are three thoughts to sleep with tonight.

First step: Sell your sheep

If you lack passion, feel bored out, burned-out today, probably your inner being is calling you to your Personal Legend. To realize bigger things. To be your true self with its potentials. But how to do it?

When called to his personal legend, the first act of the Alchemist was to sell his sheep to start a journey to Egypt in search of his treasure.

“Selling one’s sheep” has never been an easy task! Think about leaving behind all your comfort, the “certain”, the “good” things, to pursue something you don’t even know where it leads to! Yes, I am sure your parents, your friends, your partner might tell you that you are crazy! Don’t worry, you’re not alone!

When we lack passion, bored-out, burned-out, it is clear that we need a change. But how many of us have never had the courage to sell our sheep. We remain sometimes a lifetime in the same place.

Thich Nhat Hanh advises us to “call our cows by their true names”. Our cows, he means, are our ideas of happiness. Good job, good house, stable salary… are the cows that we might not even know. “Call our cows by their true names”, and let go of our ideas of happiness is the way to it.

Second step: Ready to lose!

I don’t want to discourage you, but yes, after selling the sheep, be ready to lose the money you got from selling them! That is, ready for the challenges and difficulties you will encounter on this journey. How many times, on the road to his or her own “treasure”, one might doubt that it was a wrong decision? Santiago, the Alchemist, right after selling his sheep to go to Egypt, got betrayed by someone he trusted. He was robbed the whole money left and found himself in a foreign land with blank hands.

When I decided to go beyond my pharmaceutical job and restart a career to my true self, how many times I doubted myself. Doing something you don’t know, getting rejected, sometimes finding everything rather hopeless. Paulo Coelho got rejected for “The Alchemist” after a year it was published. Or Stephen King had 60 rejections before his first short story “The Glass Floor” was accepted for $35! Most successful people will tell us to be ready for the challenges and difficulties to happen, and not giving up.

So, on New Year’s Eve, you and I can support each other to cross a bridge when we come to it! There is an old proverb saying “If at first, you don’t succeed try, try again”. Man who knows how to arrive, after all, will meet his personal legend.

Third step: Remember every cloud has a silver lining

Yes, remember there is always something good in every problem. Burned out, bored-out, no passion? There is a good reason behind this happening to you. Throughout his journey, each time the Alchemist had a bad thing happened to him, he was set up for a better thing to happen.

The story of “The Alchemist” is a never-ending inspiration for anyone in search of his or her own Personal Legend. The ultimate proof of the Alchemist was when he crossed a warring tribe. To save his life, he was forced to show his oneness with the soul of the world. He spent hours in silence, listening to the dessert, and transformed himself into the wind. Paulo Coelho told us, “When you really want something, the whole universe conspires for you to achieve it”. And I truly believe so for my own journey.

So if you lack passion, feel bored out, burned-out today, probably your inner being is calling you to your Personal Legend. To realize bigger things. To be your true self with its potentials. Listen to this voice. “Selling your sheep” might be the first thing you encounter to start a journey to find your treasure.

Subscribe to Blog

Join 16.9K other subscribers

Stories & Reflections


Paulo Coelho Foundation

Gifts, keepsakes and other souvenirs